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Ambitious Pulis targets Chelsea man to do relegation dirty work

| 07.01.2014

Football’s Mission: Impossible – save Crystal Palace from Premier League relegation – has been gradually devolving in difficulty since Tony Pulis took command at Selhurst Park.

Daunting, then challenging, the task at hand can now be categorised firmly in the ‘manageable’ file and, should Pulis land his top January transfer target, another downgrade could be in store.

Despite being just a solitary point from climbing out of the drop zone, the Eagles’ odds to be relegated stand at a market-leading 4/9.

Ian Holloway’s typically Ian Holloway summer transfer policy – an unsystematic, chaotic assembling of any footballer interested in signing, needed or otherwise – left the south London outfit looking a lost cause as far as seasonal salvation was concerned, but Pulis has somehow managed to instil some organisation into the disarray and now he’s set about bolstering an altogether not-too-shabby frontline.

Ambitiously, he’s pinpointed Chelsea’s peripheral frontman Demba Ba as the fuel to propel them clear of the bottom three.

The Blues are willing to allow the Senegalese star to leave after granting him just three starts in all competitions this term, but only to specific suitors.

An overwhelming majority of his appearances have come from the bench, but he’s still managed three goals and has proved his quality as the big fish in a small pond at both Newcastle and West Ham.

In 66 appearances across a total of two full seasons, the 28-year-old registered 36 goals.

Pulis famously tried to sign Ba following his half season of success at West Ham, though the scaremongering surrounding his devastating knee injury waiting to happen put him off and paved the way for a transfer to the Toon.

A short-term deal would help ease the Welshman’s fears in this respect, while the fact that no such knee complaint has arisen since the issue was made public – a whole two-and-a-half seasons back – makes the gamble worth taking.

While Ba himself would prefer a more high profile move, Chelsea blocked a potential switch to Arsenal at the end of the summer transfer window and are unlikely to allow any upper echelon rival the chance to snaffle their striker, no matter how insignificant they consider him, in the winter, leaving Palace one of few viable options.

All odds and markets accurate as publication’s time and date

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James Middleton